Old safari home page banners

This does not have much to do with gemmology, we’ll admit it…

Those of you who knew our older website were famillliar with our old safari home page banners. In the course of time we received a number of positive feedbacks. Although we don’t use these banners anymore we thought it would be nice to upload them onto the website. Probably a little nostalgia…

p.s.: you’ll have to click on the banners to see them fully


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Color-change garnet

Rare color-change garnet in G&G

A new color-change garnet deposit was discovered late 2011 in the province of Lindi (southern Tanzania). A few nice pieces were discovered including a very rare and impressive 11.73 cts gem. The deposit produced gems for only a short period of time (a few weeks). Swala Gem Traders bought rough during the entire production but only a few gems were large enough to cut center pieces. The 11.73 cts piece is not only very large but the color change is impressive, the stone is eye clean, well cut and polished. A fine collector’s item.

The full article can be found by clicking here

Swala in Condé Nast Traveler

Swala in Condé Nast Traveler

Christian Wright from the Condé Nast Traveler contacted us a few months ago as she was writing an article pertaining to gems being purchased during a trip abroad.

Many tourists who visit Tanzania plan to leave the country with a tanzanite or two. Unfortunately there are many frauds; from people buying badly cut stones, highly included gems to synthetic forsterite, glass or even plastic.

Based on our experience, Eric, from Swala Gem Traders, was quoted saying the following:

“Unlike the diamond industry, which is tightly regulated and sets uniform prices for grades of stones (see “From the Mine to Your Finger”), the colored gemstone business can seem like a free-for-all. There is no standard grading system for color, cut, and clarity, so pricing can be arbitrary and fraud is common when you’re not purchasing from established dealers. “It’s very easy for someone on the street to sell a piece of glass for $500 to a tourist who thinks it’s a fantastic deal,” says Eric Saul, of Swala Gem Traders in Tanzania, whose father introduced tanzanite to Tiffany & Co. in the 1960s. “Nobody’s going to buy a $200,000 Chevrolet, but they’ll pay a lot of money for a piece of glass if they don’t know any better.”


The full article, which we encourage you to read, can be found by clicking here 

rare tsavorites

A very rare tsavorites production

We recently purchased a very nice lot of rare tsavorites from the … tanzanite mines in Mererani! The miners were trying to produce Tanzanites, and ran into a series of exceptional Tsavorite pockets! Green grossular garnets, also known as mint garnets, are sometimes produced in Mererani (a few huge pieces have been mined in the past). However, these garnets are true tsavorites which is very unusual. Indeed, quite a few of these tsavorites are of the very finest color, absolutely beautiful! They are neither too light nor too dark. The color comes close to what I would call a “pure” green. Indeed, garnets are singly refractive, and in this particular case it is hard to describe yellow or blue as being secondary colors. A huge asset compared to emeralds! The references of these gems are from 10951 to 11000. These rare tsavorites each weigh between 1 and 2 cts. We’ve cut a few big pieces (above 4 carats).

To see another article and learn more about tsavorite on our website, it’s right here!

Demantoid garnets

A few new African demantoid garnets for sale

We’ve uploaded a few new African demantoid garnets and thought we would quickly write about them. Top demantoids are very expensive and will put a very serious dent in most wallets. We consider that the ones we’ve uploaded are nicely priced considering their characteristics.
The colors of these demantoid garnets are average to nice (a strong yellow component is usually not what people are looking for). However, all these gems are beautifully cut and polished. Cut is very important for demantoids as their dispersion is high. They are rather clean. Most importantly, their weights are important. Demantoids are usually not found in large sizes and weights are important in determining their prices.

A nice 3.79 cts pear shaped demantoid. The gem is green with a yellow component.

A nice 3.79 cts pear shaped demantoid. The gem is green with a yellow component.

Stunning combination

A stunning combination

Swala Gem Traders has pulled out a beautiful authentic Paraiba Tourmaline from its stock to match it with a superb high end Mahenge Spinel. We wanted to share this rare color and stunning combination with you.

Stunning combination

This is a real Paraiba Tourmaline from Brazil. It was mined around 1991. It is beautiful, clean and rare. Exclusive. The spinel is from Mahenge and was mined in 2009.

Stunning combination

Both gems are well cut and clean. The colors of the two gemstones are superb.

Stunning combination

Ngorongo crater sunset (northern Tanzania).

high end tsavorites

High end tsavorites production

Swala Gem Traders is pleased to announce that they recently purchased a large amount of very high end tsavorites. Those tsavorites are very rare in quality. The quantity produced is also quite unusual.

These “top of the crop” tsavorites display a hue which is pure green. The gems are neither too dark, nor not too light. They are vivid and liverly. Most tsavorites from this production are very clean, which is also not common for green garnets (expected to have inclusions).

high end tsavorites


We hope you will find something which you will enjoy.

high end tsavorites


To learn more about tsavorites on our website, it’s right here!


Impressive tsavorites

Tsavorites have been discovered in vary few places around the world. They are mainly mined in Tanzania (the Lemshuko tsavorite mine) and Kenya. Tsavorites are also found in Madagascar but in smaller sizes and quantities. Tsavorite is not only rare but even more so in bigger sizes. It is generally estimated that only 1% of all tsavorites are above 3 cts (after cutting). Tsavorites are formed under specific conditions; the important heat and pressure which formed tsavorite shattered most of the stones. Tsavorites, if not shattered, are expected to be included. A clean 3 cts tsavorite of the right color is thus not easy to come accross.

Swala Gem Traders has bought and mined a few very large pieces (some of which are pictured below). If a 3 cts tsavorite is considered large, how about a 20 cts gem? and a 50 cts? how about a 100 cts + tsavorite?

These huge pieces don’t seem to make much sense, do they? It seems as if they would have to defy nature to be so big and clean.

Pictures in this article are of from the Swala collection.

Winza corundum (ruby and sapphire)

Just a few pictures of the Winza corundum (ruby and sapphire). Swala Gem Traders had financed a team of ruby and sapphire miners in Winza. Multiple kilos of Winza corundum were brought back to us. Obviously, much of rubies and sapphires were either useless or of cabochon quality. Plenty smaller pieces (0.3-0.4cts) were beautiful and facetable. A few larger and very attractive pieces (above 3 cts) were also cut.

Winza Corundum


The Winza corundum (ruby, sapphire) displays interesting difference in colors, saturations and tones. Like most deposits, plenty of rough needs to be examined before finding nicely crystallized gems.

Bi-color Winza sapphire Bi-color Winza sapphire

Multicolored Winza sapphires can be found, rather unusual and collectors’ material.

Pink and red Winza corundum are found. Some of which of exceptionnal size/clarity/color combination.

More technical articles on Winza rubies can be found at the following links:

– Vincent Pardieu and Jean-Baptiste Senoble’s 2009 expedition to the corundum deposit in Winza


Vincent, with Mark at Swala Gem Traders’ office during Vincent and Jean-Baptiste’s trip to Winza.

– An expedition to Tanzania’s new Ruby deposit in Winza – InColor (pages 44 and onwards)

– Rubies and Sapphires from Winza, Central Tanzania – Gems & Gemology

Majestic Tarangire (northern Tanzania) elephants no gems could buy.